To the editor:
The current guidance from the Department of Defense is that the U.S. will no longer conduct long-term stability operations despite 50 years of U.S. operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Vietnam, and Korea. Presently we are "pivoting" to the Pacific Rim and need to maintain a large military presence to defend that area.
Given our precarious economy and exploding national debt, the U.S. must find a way to provide an adequate land force to maintain peace and protect our nation from threats at a sustainable cost.
The Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army has recommended the Army stabilize at 1,045,000 soldiers (490,000 in the active component and 555,000 in the reserve component). However naysayers want further reductions, in some cases, by almost 200,000 troops.
I say, why settle for a smaller total Army when the way to save a significant amount of money is to simply reduce the active component by 100,000 and increase the reserve component by 100,000? An annual cost savings of $15.7 billion is significant.
The skilled and courageous troops of the nation's Army Reserve Forces have clearly demonstrated their competence and effectiveness over the last 11 years of war. A larger Army Guard will give our governors greater domestic emergency response capabilities and a larger Army Reserve will provide the much needed enabler to our total Army.
Save the "Million Man" Army. Keep the Army an adequate size to deal with any contingency and save money in the bargain - a perfect answer to our national defense dilemma. What are we waiting for?
Wesley E. Craig
Major General, Pennsylvania National Guard
The Adjutant General